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Photo of Earl Pomeroy

Photo of the Day
Photo of the Day


At a rally on Capitol Hill today, Congressman Earl Pomeroy led the fight for much needed disaster assistance for America’s farmers and ranchers. The rally included members of the National Farmers Union, Farm Bureau, Democratic and Republican Senators, Democratic House members and Governor John Hoeven.

 

Pomeroy is joined by (from left to right) Senator Byron Dorgan, Rep. Collin Peterson, Senator John Thune and Senator Kent Conrad.

New Legislation to Improve Rural Health Care
New Legislation to Improve Rural Health Care

In North Dakota, we know how important it is to have quality health care accessible to all of us. That is why I keep fighting so hard to make sure that rural hospitals and professionals are paid the same as their counterparts in the cities. We had great success passing so many provisions to help rural healthcare providers in the Medicare Modernization Act and it’s now time to get those provisions extended.

 

My fellow Rural Health Care Coalition co-chair, Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and I, along with 58 cosponsors from both parties, introduced the H-Care Act last week. There are 13 national health organizations that are supporting this bill.

 

The bill will:

  • Boost payments to Rural Health Clinics – Over the past decade, Congress has increased the services Rural Health Clinics must provide but has not made changes to the payment rate to reflect this expansion of services. This provision would adjust Medicare payments to better reflect the primary care services provided at Rural Health Clinics. 

 

  • Require prompt payment to rural pharmacies by Medicare prescription drug plans – Pharmacists are finding that Medicare prescription drug plans are slow in reimbursing independent pharmacies forcing these pharmacies to go to extreme measures to cover the shortfall, including taking out loans to cover the delayed payments. This provision would require reimbursement to pharmacists within 30 days for paper claims and within 14 days for electronic claims made to Medicare prescription drug plans.

 

  • Ensure that rural Americans are appropriately represented on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) -The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is an independent federal body established to advise Congress on issues affecting Medicare. Although the board is supposed to represent both urban and rural parts of the country, the commission lacks rural representation. As a result, the rural voice is often not heard in MedPAC recommendations to Congress. This legislation would require that rural representation on MedPAC be proportional to the number of rural Medicare beneficiaries.

 

  • Extend critical rural health provisions that provided much-needed assistance to rural providers, instituting Medicare payment adjustments for physicians practicing in under-served areas, rural ambulance providers, rural home health agencies and specific classes of rural hospitals.  These critically important provisions are set to sunset in the near future.  This important piece of legislation will extend these payment improvement provisions through 2011.

Click here to learn more about the Rural Health Care Coalition


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